Kids experience deployment process

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. – A young Airman-for-a-day waits for his deployment pack and orders during the Kids Understanding Deployment Operations, K.U.D.O.S., event at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, Sept. 16, 2017. The event allows children of military members who are 5-14 years old to experience what a parent goes through during a deployment. (Courtesy photo)

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- A unique group was deployed from Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, Sept. 16, 2017. They completed in-processing, deployment and returned home by the end of the day.

But don’t get concerned about a clandestine unit making a quick deployment. This deployment was part of Kids Understanding Deployment Operations, K.U.D.O.S., an event that allows children of military members who are 5-14 years old to experience what a parent goes through during a deployment.

“We want to give them an idea about things that might be going on during an actual deployment,” said Master Sgt. Scott Lauer, Airman & Family Readiness non-commissioned officer in charge. “Parents aren’t always able to share everything that is coming, so this is trying to help the children cope.”

The day was broken into four segments: pre-deployment, pre-deployment training, deployment center activities and reintegration/redeployment.

“The kids are sworn in for the day,” Lauer said. “It’s pretty involved, but it’s all for the kids so they have a realistic experience in a kid-friendly deployment event.”

Activities are held in various location around Peterson AFB. Beginning at 8 a.m. attendees met to hear remarks from Col. Todd Moore, 21st Space Wing commander, then were sworn in. Next, the kids formed into flights and continued through the deployment line where they received orders, deployment gear, had finger fingerprints taken, simulated immunizations, made a power of attorney document and met chapel personnel.

“They got a pack with pre-deployment items in it,” said Lauer. “They did a power of attorney for their toys.”

For the pre-deployment training segment the Airmen-for-a-day had their faces painted then visited displays including chemical warfare, medical items along with hazardous materials and fire department demonstrations. The segment allowed kids to see the weapons used by the Security Forces Squadron while on deployment, as well.

During the lunch break period the kids opened up a video chat with their parents.

“On deployment one of the biggest ways to communicate with your family is through video chats,” Lauer said. “They used web cams to communicate with their ‘family back home.’ It opens a chain of communication with their parents about deployment and what’s happening.”

Deployment center activities gave kids some practical experiences to familiarize them with the deployment process. They completed marching and basic drills, participated in an obstacle course and were given hands-on armory training. Explosive ordinance disposal and military working dog demonstrations, as well as readiness chemical detection and equipment and U.S. Army displays were part of the events.

The K.U.D.O.S. events ended about 4 p.m. with the reintegration segment where the kids were welcomed home with balloons and banners made by their parents. A coin presentation and closing remarks from Col. Eric Dorminey, 21st SW vice commander were part of the ceremony.

The Peterson AFB Deployed Family Dinner, hosted by the base chapel, rounded out the day’s activities.